Extremely Emaciated Cat

Question:
Hi everyone. Long story short, a neighbors cat ran away 5.5 weeks ago. He showed up over the weekend, VERY VERY thin. This cat is literally a skeleton covered in skin/hair. He's a very sweet cat (and large in size, just very underweight.) They asked me for advice. I told them (first of all, I'm notttt a vet) to try some high fat (protien) kitten food. He also has greens coming out of his nose, and is making a coughing sound. I thought maybe mothers milk would help put some weight on him as well as boost his immune system? I got him some soft pouch foods to make it easier for him to eat. They also gave him some olive oil in case he had a hairball, and they took him for worming on saturday (and a fleaguard treatment). Other than that, the vet didn't really give them much to go on. I'm at a loss, and don't know what else to suggest, nor do I know if my ideas were exactly what they should do. I just offered ideas and they decided which ones to go with. What do you all suggest? Other than taking him to a vet, that is obvious, but not sure it's an option for them right now.
Thanks

Answer:
Honestly, I think they need to go to another vet. It definitely sounds like he has a URI that needs to be addressed, and going that long without food can cause a whole host of health problems.
Last fall we rescued a cat under very similar circumstances...she ran away from the neighbors' and was missing for 4 weeks before she showed up on our back porch. Long story short, they didn't want her back so we took her in. She weighed 4.5 lbs when she should have really weighed 8! Since she had not eaten for so long, she had some pretty serious digestive issues to contend with - her digestive tract was very inflammed which led to upset stomachs, and very loose stools with blood. Ultimately she was admitted to the hospital for a couple weeks where they could monitor her, administer all sorts of stomach-calming meds, antibiotics, and fluids. She was on Eukanuba Low Ash diet for a while, too (normally I would never feed Eukanuba, but in this case it really was necessary to help her digestive system heal). It took several months for her to gain back the weight she lost. During that time we did let her free-feed dry and gave her canned several times a day. Normally we don't free-feed but again, due to the circumstances, we wanted her to eat at any time that she was hungry.
I'm sorry that's not a whole lot to go on, but I really think this cat needs to see another vet who can really be helpful in his recovery.
Best wishes to him and your friends....
~Amy

Answer:
Hi, much like Amy, we found a feral cat last July in that condition. He was close to death. He also had green mucous, extreme diarrhea, dehydration, flea and cat bites, hair loss etc. We loaded him up with high calorie foods, supplements and hydration. Our vet said he was fine too. What ended up happening, is that we gave him too rich of a diet too soon. He had been starving for too long and the rich food caused an irritable bowel bout that almost killed him. So we had to go to a more bland diet and let him build weight and muscle more gradually.
My point is not to bore you with our story, but if the poor thing develops stomach symptoms, try mixing in rice, boiled chicken and dry kibble as well as the other things you mentioned. If he has been without food for a bit, too much of a good thing might not agree with him right away.Also, more frequent smaller meals might be better than a couple of huge meals. I might also look for a parasitic infection that might be contributing to his low weight. Hydration is also very important for him. I hope your friend and the kitty make out ok. Keep us posted.

Answer:
Thanks for the replies and advice. Unfortunately I don't see them taking the cat to the vet again. (i know..... )I think they just feel lucky to have him back and fattening him up is their concern. I think they feel the snot nose will go away on its own. So that's why I'm trying to offer them as much advice as possible on my own. I tried suggesting they at least call the vet and see if they will prescribe something over the phone. (to save on the expense of a vet visit) I'm not sure if they'll do that or not. I'd take him in myself if they'd let me, except for he's an unneutered male, and my husband would have a fit. (he has a problem with unneutered males with marking and spraying and all that......he thinks they ALL do it lol)
Thanks again all.

Answer:
PLEASE keep stressing to them that the cat needs to be seen by a different vet. If a URI (which is what this sounds like) goes untreated, it can cause serious problems like pneumonia (which can be fatal).
Also, a different vet can give them supplements to help him gain weight quicker. We got a malt-like supplement for a 3-lb. emaciated feral cat we found, and it didn't cost much at all. He now is a healthy 7 lbs! The supplement really helped.

Answer:
The timing of this thread is so coincidental. There is a dog at the shelter where I volunteer that is literally bones covered in a thin layer of skin. I can see his WHOLE skeleton. He was taken to a vet who couldn't find anything that would cause this starvation until he got the idea to do an X-ray. He found a small plastic basketball lodged in his intestines blocking everything from getting in. They had to do surgery to remove it and resection his intestines. He is now being fed small meals several times a day and getting medication.
Anyway, my point is, if you can't find anything else wrong with the cat, maybe it swallowed something thats blocking its digestive process. Get an X-ray to rule this possibility out.
P.S. If anyone in my area wants to foster a very thin dog (with a good chance of recovery) please let me know. He needs someone who is home a lot to feed him frequently and give him medication. He should probably not be exposed to other pets or small children b/c of his weak condition. And because the way he looks right now might frighten young kids! His name is Sherman.

Answer:
A lot of times, cats with URIs will not eat because they can not smell the food. They may need to syringe feed him some watery canned food.
I don't know how many CCs is normal, though. Perhaps someone here would know.

Answer:
Can you offer to pay for the vet visit? Poor kitty.....

Answer:
science diet a/d is best for skinny cats. You have to go to the vet to get it though since it is prescription, but it IS worth it.